New Oushak rugs offer a contemporary spin on an ancient style

Jason Moattar of ADAC’s Moattar Ltd walks us through the history and best practices with the rug

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Oushak rug

Photograph by Jason Lagi

With dreamy colors and traditional patterns, antique Oushak rugs have long been a staple of plush living rooms. But the Oushak style is popular anew—now with a modern refresh, according to Jason Moattar of ADAC’s Moattar Ltd. Here’s a 101 for buying your own.

  • Traditionally defined by a central medallion with floral or fruit motifs, Oushaks originated in what is now Turkey in the Ottoman Empire. They are handwoven in wool with coarse knots.
  • Contemporary Oushak rugs feature an innovation in pattern: Old designs are often manipulated into abstractions featuring modern colors like gray and blue. “It’s a new take on an old tradition,” says Moattar. It can take a weaver months to make a fine rug.
  • Origin matters. Reproductions are often still crafted in Turkey, but Moattar’s favorites come from Iran. Due to economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration, importing Persian rugs (from any country) is prohibited, so prices may be on the rise.
  • The rug pictured features the abrash technique—instead of one flat color, it incorporates different shades of one hue to create depth. This is a nod to Old World custom; when one color of yarn ran out, a similar shade subbed in.
  • “Less is best” when it comes to care, says Moattar. He recommends a sealing treatment to protect against stains and fading. Spills should be blotted with a damp washcloth and mild detergent. And don’t over-vacuum—once a week at most.

This article appears in our Winter 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

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